It's strange, how the mind switches back and forth, always riding the fence about certain things. Aside from creation vs evolution vs aliens (lol!), my mind had for a while been in debate about whether or not I love the winter season. First, I'd like to take a moment to remind those who know and to educate those who don't that I live in the great white north. That's Canada, if you couldn't guess. Lately, our winters have been pretty meek, but this year's is, well.... I can't think of a better word to describe it than "big ol' cranky dragon." Dragon, because I just finished reading Inheritance, the last installment to Christopher Paolini's Inheritance novels. But that's another story for another time. Stepping away from the tangent mobile, here is my debate and how I came to decide whether or not I still love winter like I used to as a child: No one ever really grows up completely. There will always be something in your adult life that will make you act or have the same feelings you did as a child. There are many things on that list where I'm concerned, but the winter season is at the top of the list. Outside the season, and especially in the hot summer months, I yern for the winter, for the snow and the cold. I think about putting on my snowmobiling suit and just jumping into the snow like I would as a child. I talk excitedly with my best friend about making snowmen and forts (yes, I'm almost 24 years old and I still think about snow forts) but when the time actually comes, I've lost my desire. Why? Why is it that once winter finally gets here, I start to loathe it? I can tell you right now that it's not the cold, nor is it the illnesses that circulate during this time of year. The only cold I catch is a sinus cold, which I've come to accept will happen at least twice a year for me regardless. Now let's put aside those elements and also the fact that on a good year, the snow up here will last from November until middle of April. Think with me.... Oh yes. I've got it now. Shoveling. We have a snowblower/thrower/whatever you want to call it. However, it has been sitting in our temporary garage for the whole season. Why? Because a certain lazy father hasn't gotten around to fixing it. Because of that, I've had to shovel over three feet of snow in under two weeks. I have a four-car driveway and yes, perhaps that's not so large but it isn't exactly small either, nevermind the two foot concrete-solid wall of snow at the end of the driveway where the snowplow was nice enough to dump half of its load. On top of that, I have a bad back, courtesy of tailbone damage on two separate but similarily airheaded occasions. And to add to the list, I have to clean off the roof of the temporary garage so that it doesn't dump a foot of snow (because that's how much it snows in one day) onto our expensive snowmobiles and cause expensive damage. Also, I have to shovel a path from the driveway to the deck stairs, clean off the stairs and the deck for fire escape reasons. All combined, in one day, and having a foot of fresh snow to get rid of, it's just too much for this fat, injured person. And thus, I find myself loathing the winter with the fury of a woman scorned. But then something happens to change my mind. Last night, as I finished shoveling the deck at around 8 pm, I happened to take a pause to catch my breath. It was cold. And I don't mean fragile cityfolk cold. I mean -22 celcius (-8F) where it was just a little uncomfortable to stay standing still. But there I was, standing there, looking around my tiny little community from about fifteen feet up, when I noticed something most intriguing. Sparkles. I wasn't sure whether it was snowing in the slightest or whether it was my breath crystalizing in the cold air, but the deck light at my back was catching something reflective and miniscule floating in the air. Now, I've always felt a sense of awe when I gaze up at the stars on a crisp, clear night. But seeing them so vivid, pasted against the navy sky, accompanied by a million little dancing specks of glitter was a new and stunning experience. I turned around, finding them everywhere, surrounding me. They were like the tiniest of fireflies. Of course I did the first thing that came to mind and reached out with a gloved hand to see if I could touch these glittering specks. They danced away from my hand and sparkled brighter for a moment before settling back into their previous pace. It must have been very fine snow I thought, and pulled the glove off my hand, reaching out again and remaining still for a moment. It was subtle, but I could definitely feel the specks melting as they came in contact with my warm skin. Regardless, I felt like a cat, thoroughly amused with a piece of dangling string and warmth flooded my very soul with a strange sense of accomplishment as if just witnessing this wintry wonder was a remarkable feat. It's impossible for me to fully capture into words the beauty of what I saw that night and I hope that some if not all of you will or already have seen it. In that moment, I realized two things about myself. The first thing I realized was that I was crying, yes, crying, and smiling like an idiot at this simple, but remarkably beautiful sight. Big fat tears of joy and wonder were rolling down my cheeks. I was speechless, a tight knot had formed itself in the back of my throat. I was unable to look away. Stupified if you will. The second realization that came to me, after my mind had settled a little, was that all the sweat and pain I'd put into shoveling that day had been worth it because I would have never been standing there at that moment otherwise. And so, returning to my warm house, I couldn't help but think "I love winter!" Now here are my questions to you: Have you ever experienced something that left you in awe, speechless, or in tears? What is your opinion of Winter? Is there anything you've previously debated about with yourself for a long while but have finally decided to take a side?